Chopard have been an official partner of the Mille Miglia, the classic 1000 mile (Hence the name in Italian) race for 35 years. This year they celebrate this milestone along with their Co-President, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele‘s 35th appearance in the great race himself with a new collection of 40.5mm Chronographs.
The partnership between Chopard and the Mille Miglia is the longest partnership between a watch brand and a motorsports event in the world in terms of a watch designed and built in association with the event. This year marks the 35th year of the Chopard Mille Miglia, and the 36th year the Maison has been the official time keeper of what Enzo Ferrari called “the most beautiful race in the world“
So inextricably linked is Chopard to the race, that it’s Co-President, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele has raced over 30,000 racing miles in it himself, having personally taken part in the race every year since 1989.
So for this 35th Anniversary of the partnership, and his participation, Chopard have released their 2023 collection of Mille Miglia Classic Chronographs comprising of four new models with colourways personally chosen by Karl-Friedrich himself. Three of the four models are Lucent Steel™ only, with the fourth model a two-tone in Lucent Steel™ and Chopard’s other exclusive metal, Ethical Gold, this time an 18k Yellow Gold on the bezel, crown, chronograph pushers, hands and sub-dial indicators.
Given watches and motorsport are an age old partnership, and there are only a few brands in the world that have as strong a link to racing as Chopard, so it’s no surprise that when designing the new time pieces for 2023, Karl-Friedrich and the designers decided to draw inspiration from the incomparable style of classic cars and the multiple details of their finishes. Taking this one step further, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele has personally selected four colours inspired by race cars for the dials and counters on each piece.
The Lucent Steel™ models feature dials named Verde Chiaro (light green) and Rosso Amarena (cherry red), each with a circular satin-brushed finish, or in Nero Corsa (racing black) with an engine-turned finish. Meanwhile, the bi-material version in Lucent Steel™ and ethical gold has a dial in circular satin-brushed Grigio-Blu (grey blue).
“These colours evoke the paintwork and interiors of classic cars, while the satin-brushing and engine-turning refer to the distinctive backgrounds of dashboard instruments and the texture of upholstery”
For those of you that missed my review on the Chopard Alpine Eagle in Lucent SteelTM, it is Chopard’s proprietary allow, which is 50% harder than conventional steel, less prone to knocks and scratches and in the words of Chopard – has a luminous, gently reflective appearance that gives it an almost incandescent shimmer. It is also REACH-certified as being responsibly produced with 80% recycled content and naturally anti-allergenic, ensuring it is highly dermo-compatible and easy to wear with no irritation.
All the dials feature prominent white minutes tracks and tachymeter scales – both essential for making speed and distance calculations – while dial markings and hour and minute hands are coated with white Grade XI Super-Luminova® to ensure the high degree of legibility required when navigating after dark.
The central sweep-seconds hand is red-tipped both for practical and aesthetic purposes – as well as to complement the famous red ‘1000 Miglia’ logo applied to each dial. This is one aspect of the Mille Miglia watches that I’ve always liked, and just like the old adage, “Red cars go faster”, red on a racing chronograph always looks the part!
To add to the vintage style of the pieces, Chopard has elected to make the sapphire crystal “Glassbox” style, which is typical of 70’s era racing chronographs. The domed crystal and steep sides give the watches a nice aesthetic with the added benefit of ease of reading the dial at certain angles.
Knurled, slip resistant pushers have been incorporated into each piece, ensuring that drivers when timing laps can easily operate these and not miss critical stop, start and resets. These are not only practical in any scenario, put add to the look of the watches and their racing links.
The model featuring a Nero Corsa dial is teamed with a rubber strap bearing a distinctive pattern based on the tread of 1960s Dunlop racing tyres, with the other three models fitted with rich brown calfskin leather straps, with a look reminiscent of traditional driving gloves. All four are secured by buckles made from Lucent Steel™.
Under the bonnet and behind the display case back is self winding chronograph movement with 54 hour power reserve beating at 4hz / 28,800vph and is a certified chronometer by the COSC. The movement is good looking and Chopard have done it justice with Côtes de Genève on the rotor, which is emblazoned with Chopard in gold, Perlage on the gear train bridge and striping around the base plate.
“This year’s watches represent the 36th variation on the collection. Even more than previous ones, they reflect the unique atmosphere of the 1000 Miglia. One of the challenges for this year’s event will be deciding whether to choose a Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph model that complements my car – or to choose a car that complements my favourite version of the watch.” – Karl-Friedrich Scheufele
Perhaps that statement above sums up the new Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Collection from Chopard, however, here are my initial thoughts: Classic, good looking chronographs with motorsport styling, design cues that hark back to a vintage era and functional elements that have been designed with drivers in mind.
At 40.5mm and less than 13mm thick, these will fit most people’s wrists and shouldn’t wear too much larger than the numbers suggest. With a reasonable price tag of around $14k AUD for the steel models and $17k for the two-tone, these seem worthy of consideration if you’re in the market for a new racing styled Chronograph. We’ll hold our final verdict until we’ve had a chance to go hands on with them a little later on.
- Ref. 168619-3001 –in Lucent Steel™ with Nero Corsa dial and rubber strap
- Ref. 168619-3003 – in Lucent Steel™ with Rosso Amarena dial and leather strap
- Ref. 168619-3004 – in Lucent Steel™ with Verde Chiaro dial and leather strap
- Ref. 168619-4001 – in Lucent Steel™ and ethical 18-carat yellow gold with Grigio-Blue dial and leather strap
- Case: 40.5mm
- Thickness: 12.88mm
- Case Material: Brushed and Polished Lucent Steel™ / Lucent Steel™ and 18k Ethical Yellow Gold
- Case back: Exhibition case-back with the 1000 Miglia motif around the circumference
- Dial: Circular satin-brushed dial in Grigio-Blu, Verde Chiaro & Rosso Amarena or Engine-turned Nero Corsa
- Hands/Indices: Rhodium-plated baton-type hours and minute hands, painted hour markers with white Grade XI Super-LumiNova®
- Crystal: Domed “Glassbox” sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective treatment
- Water resistance: 50m / 5bar
- Movement: Self-winding automatic chronograph movement
- Power reserve: 54 Hours
- Strap: Brown calf skin strap or black rubber strap with pin buckle in Lucent Steel™
Australian Recommended Retail Pricing:
- Ref. 168619-3001 – Nero Corsa dial and rubber strap: $14,100 AUD
- Ref. 168619-3003/3004 – with Rosso Amarena / Verde Chiaro dials and leather strap: $14,400 AUD
- Ref. 168619-4001 – in Lucent Steel™ and ethical 18-carat yellow gold: $16,900 AUD